The Content Mafia has been continuing to try to hijack people's home theater systems. It's called Selectable Output Control, and basically means they would control things like your Tivo (the kill switch that enables automatic deleting of your recorded programs past the content provider's date) or anything connected by the digital HDMI (the "broadcast flag" that many deny exists. Seriously, I've provided the code from the EFF to video traders who say I'm just making it up). SOC is illegal under the FCC. Recently, the MPAA has tried to grease the wheels a little by saying they wanted to offer movies before they hit DVD, but to keep them from being simply recorded, they want the FCC to grant them a waiver so they can use SOC. Today, they got a new ally. Time Warner Cable, which has already helped kill Usenet and tried to put limits on people's Internet usage, has joined the fray. Their proposal is they would allow these movies to be received only on boxes connected by HDMI. If you connect with analogs (the cable coax or RCA jacks), you would be blocked from the content. This goes for the Tivo, too, and I just know the expiration flag is in there somewhere. You don't play by their rules, you don't get the content. Time Warners arguement is actually that so many subscribers have at least one TV set up with all digital connections, no one will really be inconvenienced. Never mind the slippery slope this creates.
This happened today. A couple of days ago, the fine folks at Public Knowledge addressed the FCC, saying the MPAA had yet to establish any need for a waiver of SOC. Time Warner hasn't, either.
Which way will this go? I don't know. Obama stocked the AG posts with lots of RIAA connected lawyers and has blown off FOIA requests. I worry this will result in another blow to our digital rights.
Of course, I'm not sure most people would fight for them anyway. Not a lot of people are aware of the opportunity this will create. Everyone has forgotten DiVX already....